This SCO programme demonstrates how the line between classical and romantic repertoire was anything but straight. In his chamber Symphony No 5, Schubert channels Mozart in this near perfect imitation, only providing a glimpse of his true colours in the strident Schubertian scherzo. Under the baton of Emmanuel Krivine, the SCO’s distinctive blend of period and contemporary instruments was crisp and elegant despite the small ensemble occasionally sounding lost in this large hall.
Usher Hall, Edinburgh ****
Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No 1 with soloist Bertrand Chamayou was a different story as the brass added textural warmth and substance to this musical tempest. Chamayou embraced the edgy virtuosity and fizzing scale passages of the faster movements which he delivered at such a lick it had the audience on the edge of their seats. The serene slow movement allowed time for him to engage on a deeper level with the bassoon, horns and lower strings before the dazzling finale.
While Mendelssohn makes the concerto his own, after a nod to Beethoven, romanticism moves closer to Wagner in Schumann’s ‘Rhenish’ Symphony No 3. Krivine and the orchestra, now almost symphonic in size, gave a dramatic reading of this lyrical work. The surging Rhine river was beautifully evoked by the strings in the first movement while the horns underpinned the boisterous ländler with a bagpipe-like drone. Although at odds with rest of the symphony, the mesmerising chorale-like fourth movement was sublime.
Apart from a few rhythmic wobbles in the finale, this performance had plenty of energy and swagger.